Ian and the Dream: New Dreams
If Ian and the Dream’s 2014 debut, California Cauliflower, possessed all the elements for a successful 21st-century iteration of classic British Invasion and power pop, it sounded impeded by overreach on bandleader Ian Ash’s part (and, yeah, that album title...). A couple years later, and New Dreams sounds like the Waukesha native has taken a giant stride toward fulfilling the promise he frustratingly didn’t quite fulfill last time out.
On New Dreams, the imprint of Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and other heroes of pop craft from long before Ash’s birth can be heard writ large. The 10 songs are replete with vintage instrumentation and hooks enough to overflow a tackle box. This time the songs are more mature and less purposefully idiosyncratic, delivered by Ash’s growing confidence as a vocalist. Occasional, seemingly biblical lyrical references and a quote from Sufi psychologist Robert Holden in the CD booklet only add to the intrigue of Dreams. It’s not like the music isn’t compelling enough, though.